by Jean-Paul Sartre
King Aegisthus Timeline and Summary
- Aegisthus orders that Electra attend the Ceremony of the Dead. When she doesn't show, he makes plans to punish her at a later date.
- He then decides to hold the ceremony without her. He orders his high priest to start the festivities.
- While the crowd bemoans their lot, Aegisthus claims to spot the ghost of Agamemnon.
- Aegisthus is outraged as Electra enters the scene in her white party dress.
- They argue; he alludes to her accursed blood-line, since she comes from the house of Atreus.
- He watches helplessly as Electra makes a mockery of his festival.
- Aegisthus tries repeatedly to silence her but can do nothing. He vows to destroy her later.
- When Zeus sends his sign to silence Electra, Aegisthus stops the angry mob of townspeople from attacking her.
- Vengeance is his, claims the King. He chooses to banish his stepdaughter and threatens to punish anyone who attempts to help her.
- In the throne room of the palace, Aegisthus converses with Zeus. Miserable with his life, the King reveals that he wishes to die. He refuses to prevent Orestes's would-be crime.
- Zeus and Aegisthus discuss the difference between this murder and the murder of Agamemnon fifteen years earlier.
- Aegisthus realizes that Zeus is after penitence, and not justice.
- Then they discuss their respective identity crises; both men have become the images they project of themselves before their subjects.
- They also cover the topic of freedom; Aegisthus knows that, if Orestes knows he is free, then he is a very dangerous man.
- When Orestes moves to kill him, Aegisthus makes no attempt to defend himself.
- Before Aegisthus dies, he curses both Electra and her brother. He then tells Orestes to "beware of the flies."
- Aegisthus dies.